MyRepublic, a start-up fibre broadband provider in Singapore backed by Indonesian telco Sunshine Network and French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel, which has set out its stall to disrupt the status quo in its home market, is now considering taking its ‘disruptive’ business model to Malaysia. Digital News Asia quotes MyRepublic chief executive officer Malcolm Rodrigues as saying that his company welcomes market deregulation in the telecoms space which gives opportunity to newcomers to shake up the market. ‘Every time you have a deregulation event in the market, from opening up the long-distance market in the United States in the 1980s, to the local loop unbundling [LLU] 15 years ago, also in the states, you can see 30% of the market leaving incumbents in virtually every country.’
MyRepublic started offering broadband internet services in Singapore in 2011, and in July 2014 received a cash injection of SGD30 million (USD24.1 million) from its owners, as it looks to carve out a niche as the state’s fourth operator. Rodrigues says the start-up’s plan to disrupt the market is beginning to bear fruit in Singapore where MyRepublic aims to take as much as 30% of the fibre broadband segment – not least by offering a 1Gbps connection priced at SGD49 per month at a time when competitors were charging as much as SGD395 for a similar speed service. Today, the firm’s rivals have all followed suit by slashing their broadband speeds in order to compete, and Rodrigues now says that Malaysians who feel they are paying too much for their service may welcome the news that MyRepublic is targeting Malaysia as its next south-east Asia market. ‘We want to offer 100Mbps at between MYR60 and MYR70 (USD16 and USD19) a month,’ the CEO said, noting that dominant operator Telekom Malaysia’s current 1Mbps internet plus voice package stands at MYR116.60 a month.
However, the would-be market entrant’s plan is dependent on Malaysian regulators creating an environment conducive to its disruptive model. Specifically, Rodrigues is waiting for the government to require that Telekom Malaysia open up its networks to other operators via full LLU, a process that could take place between now and 2018, he said. As it stands, altnets are, he says, restricted to signing wholesale agreements with the incumbent, a situation he fears does not benefit either the competing telco or indeed the end user. Nevertheless, MyRepublic expects to launch in Malaysia by the end of 2015 or in early 2016. It is currently active in Singapore and New Zealand.